Friday, June 22, 2012

"C" is for Class (Swim)

Tully took swim lessons this spring through Infant Swimming Resource (ISR). The lessons were a little different, but they came highly recommended by another mom who had two kids that successfully completed the program.    The goal of ISR is to provide children 6 months to 6 years with the skills needed to survive should they fall in the water unattended.  This was definitely not a fun mommy-and-me swim class.  I had to listen to frustrated cries for nearly 5 weeks, but now that Tully has graduated, I can say that it was worth it.

The lessons were one-on-one up to 10 minutes/day, 5 days/week.  Tully couldn't eat or drink 2 hours before the lesson, so we tried to time it where he was just waking up from sleeping all night or from a nap.  I saw several kids totally lose their (milky!) lunch, and it was not pleasant.  ISR is serious about waiting 2 hours to swim after eating.

The ISR site says that kids take 4 to 6 weeks to learn the necessary skills, but Tully ended up taking 10 weeks of classes.  We had several three day weeks due to holidays, a fever, and the instructor being out of town, so I think that really stretched things out.  Either that or Tully was just really, really stubborn.  Most of the other kids that had lessons before and after Tully were still taking classes when he graduated too, so I'm not totally sure what was going on.

Here are the skills Tully learned:
  • Hold his breath underwater
  • Roll onto his back in the water
  • Float unassisted, rest and breathe until help arrives
  • Perform the above skills first in a swim diaper, then in a regular diaper while fully clothed (summer and winter outfits, including shoes)
Not happy but floating
My parents have tanning ledges in their pool where Tully can walk around with the water about chest high.  It's hard for him to see where they end, and they drop off directly into the deep end.  He has hopped off the ledges several times.  When we were at my parents' house Memorial Weekend (after 8 weeks of lessons), it was hit or miss or whether or not Tully popped into his float.  We talked to the instructor and described how the ledges and steps worked in my parents pool.  Their setup was very different than the lap pool where we were taking lessons, but the reality is that he's going to be around my parents pool, not a lap pool.

The last two weeks of class Tully really made progress.  He started flipping over more quickly, and his float was outstanding.  He tested in summer clothes and shoes and winter clothes and shoes all with a regular diaper.  (BTW have you ever seen a completely soaked Pampers Swaddlers diaper?  UNREAL how much those things can hold, and the gel is kinda creepy.)  With the exception of the two days of clothing, Tully wore a swim diaper with swim shorts and sometimes a rash guard (swim shirt).

Here are a few videos of Tully's progress.

Week 1 - floating but frustrated

Week 5ish - learning to roll, no longer frustrated

Week 10 - winter clothes, floating like a champ

Week 10 final day - mastered the roll and float

Next year Tully will learn the swim-float-swim sequence, so instead of floating in the water until someone rescues him, he can swim to the edge and rescue himself.  ISR teaches children to roll to their back to catch a breath, so that's different than regular swim lessons where I'm assuming they would teach lifting the head.  I talked to the other moms who have had older siblings take the classes, and most of them said their 2 and 3 year olds LOVED swimming after they learned the swim-float-swim sequence.  It will be so fun for Tully to swim in Grammy and PawPaw's pool and at the lake with Gigi and Pops.  I'm really looking forward to next summer!


    1. This is seriously the coolest thing ever! I remember researching this before I had Carter.

      Way to go Tully!

    2. This is SO awesome, Ash! I felt proud of him just reading/watching this and I haven't met him yet!


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